If I asked you to define vanity, how would you respond? Some of you might mention a place where you sit to do your hair or makeup. Others would say something about having too high an opinion of one’s appearance, ability or worth. But, there’s a third meaning of the word that is actually mentioned far more frequently in Scripture. Here is one example:
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)
Here, vain means “empty or worthless,” and in this verse, the writer gives two examples connecting God’s involvement with man’s effort. Clearly, the message is this – man can work his tail off building homes, running businesses, collecting possessions, and amassing wealth; he can install alarm systems and hire security firms – but if God is not invited into every step of the process, it’s all empty and without real value.
Yes, the buildings get erected, the businesses generate money, but without God, the house fails to feel like a home, and the purchases bring no lasting satisfaction. Instead, there’s just a vague sense of emptiness, and a fear of losing it all.
The unspoken alternative here, however, is that having God involved in the blue prints, building upon the foundation of Christ, and placing our full security and hope in Him brings real value. With God helping us build, and watching over our lives, there is sense of completeness and genuine satisfaction.
Remember as you go about your days, unless the Lord builds the house, the business, the ministry, the Sunday school class, the church, the family, the ________, we labor in vain. We all want our efforts to matter – therefore, build upon the foundation of Christ. –Dave
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